The second I heard the words “fake dating” I knew I was in, and I did not find myself at all disappointed by the romance novel that is The Dating Plan by Sarah Desai. From the first page I was charmed by its protagonist, Daisy Patel. Daisy is a fantastically sculpted character. She is confident in herself, has her entire life put together in a way I envy, is one of the nerdiest characters I have ever encountered, and is incredibly stylish. At the same time Daisy has many vulnerabilities and insecurities that we get to know throughout the book, and she often acts in ways that the reader might not agree with but are perfectly understandable for her situation.
In contrast to Daisy is her love interest, Liam, who is also incredibly put together, but who she hates because he broke her heart by standing her up for prom ten years before the start of the book. There are a lot of things to love about The Dating Plan, but one of them that is a personal favorite for me is I really enjoy how Liam is steadfastly not over Daisy and only seems to have eyes for her. It is implied in the book that he has had plenty of previous relationships with other women but none of them were at all serious because he was secretly pining for Daisy the whole time, and that trope is one of my favorite parts of a romance novel. I feel bad for all the other women that Liam dated, but I also ship him and Daisy a great deal, so I try not to think about it too hard.
The biggest point in Liam’s favor is that he cares not just about Daisy but also about her family and about her culture and has nothing but respect and adoration for her and for them. He desires their acceptance and cares about her family in a way that I really appreciate, especially since within the narrative they are incredibly critical of him at times.
Daisy as a character is a lot of fun to get to know, because she has such a vibrant personality, and I appreciate how much she takes charge and goes with her gut when necessary, not letting anyone walk over her while still staying accommodating and friendly with everyone she encounters. Her skill with that is utterly amazing. She is also a complete nerd, and the fact that she re-watches the MCU when upset instead of romance movies was entirely relatable.
I thought the transition from fake dating to the two of them realizing that they had true emotions was exceptionally smooth in how rough it was, and I appreciated the drama of its reveal. Overall, this was a thoroughly pleasant romance novel, and I am glad I took the time to read it. As a side note the sex scenes were also almost universally hilarious, punctuated as they were by Daisy’s avengers-themed undergarments.